Not there yet?
By the time we’ve finished the next six weeks, I hope I will have convinced you that the life of the church exists within small communities.
Jesus chose 12.
These were common, ordinary men, probably on the young side, who were looking for a Messiah and determined to follow Him wherever that might lead. They weren’t content to simply go to synagogue on the Sabbath and celebrate the feasts. They wanted all God had for them, and although they may have thought they made the choice to follow this itinerant rabbi, in truth He chose them.
Yes. Even Judas who would later betray Him.
Because Jesus knew that He needed to leave us an example of how we will best accomplish His plans for us. In groups of close friends.
This “Jesus life” is something that cannot be accomplished alone. To do so leaves half of His purpose completely out. What was His purpose? To reconcile people to God and people to people. He said the two greatest commandments were “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37).”
No room for Lone Rangers. This is a group activity.
The early church comprised Jewish believers in Yeshua as their long-awaited Messiah. Little by little, Gentiles heard the Gospel and believed. Together they formed small groups that met regularly to fellowship, worship, and study the scriptures.
But they still went to the Temple to join with their fellow Jews in worshipping God with their age-old traditions.
James admonishes us to confess our sins to each other. Chris Morton calls it “articulating
what is wrong.” When you bring sin into the light, you can clearly see how evil it is, and those praying with you can rejoice over your cleansing. God gave us each other. We find a safe place to “let it all hang out” in a small group of like-minded believers.
Yet another reason is for sharing. While our culture today screams at us: “Get more stuff! Get more stuff!”, we need to recognize that God is our provider. We need to realize that it is not we, ourselves, who gain wealth, but God who enables us to acquire and enjoy things. When we share, it is because we know that all good things come from God’s warehouse, and there will always be enough to meet our needs. We need not grasp onto what God has given us. He will always give us more as we open our hands in
Sharing also involves making ourselves vulnerable in other ways, too. Sharing the depths of our souls promotes trust. We can also share our daily lives, not just at church, but “breaking bread from house to house” as the disciples did. Just remember that small groups do not replace corporate gathering, but enrich it.